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Port Hope News Update re: Wesleyville lands acquisition

For Immediate Release Wednesday, May 4, 2022 - Port Hope, ON

To fulfil a commitment to keep residents informed on the sale of the Wesleyville lands, the following is an update on the status of the file.

In the days following the notification that the Wesleyville land sale between the Municipality of Port Hope and Ontario Power Generation was being stopped by the province, the Mayor and staff reached out to the province and invited the Premier, Minister Romano, and Minister Piccini to discuss the matter. In April, a virtual meeting was held between Minister Piccini and staff representatives from the province, the Mayor, and municipal senior staff. At that meeting, it was made clear to the Municipality that the decision to stop the sale of the lands is final. The Mayor expressed concerns raised by the Municipality about the abrupt stoppage of the sale. These concerns also included feedback provided by residents and municipal stakeholders. The Mayor also made a request for consideration of the negative impact that this decision has had on the Municipality. The province advised that they would follow up on that request. To date no follow up has occurred from the province as was agreed to at the meeting. The Municipality’s interests in the property, derived from the Strategic Plan and goals for the community, include a holistic approach for use of the lands: working with the province and the private sector on the maintenance of parks, recreation, and green space; protection of significant natural and cultural features; and the potential development of 600 acres for residential, commercial and employment lands. Municipal staff, working alongside our elected officials, will continue to advocate for representation regarding any future development. All options will be explored and any necessary actions, legal or otherwise, will be considered to ensure that the Municipality is treated fairly in this matter.

Statement from Mayor Sanderson “Mayors from across the County and beyond have reached out to me to share their shock and dismay at the province’s heavy-handed approach and treatment of a small municipality. I am disappointed that the province has not engaged us in any meaningful way, nor does it appear that they will in the foreseeable future. We have a strong relationship with the province and would be an ideal partner on the Wesleyville file. I will continue to advocate this position whenever and wherever I can. As the provincial election is currently underway, it is understandable that we likely will not get to the bottom of this issue until after election day. I will be the first in line to speak with the province when government resumes later this summer.”

Background In March 2022, The Municipality received notification from Ontario Power Generation (OPG) that the province has stopped the sale of the Wesleyville lands in the Municipality of Port Hope from proceeding. This notification was a last-minute change and was unexpected for Council and staff, who have been preparing for the closing of the sale, which was scheduled for Thursday, March 31, 2022.

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